Opinion / Technology, Innovation, the Future

Grenfell Towers? Meet Venezuela

Suitably anonymous @_BossGoose opines on Twitter re my previous posting on causation, responsibility and the Grenfell Towers catastrophe: Boss Goose‏ Is your suggested course of action basically “some of us will live through (nearly) any disaster, so, fuck it, let the market decide”? S/he goes further: Boss Goose‏ This may be […]

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Grenfell Tower – What Caused What?

The Grenfell Tower fire was a horrendous … what exactly? Accident? An ‘accident waiting to happen’? A ‘result of (gross) negligence’? A ‘consequence of austerity’? A ‘failure of capitalism’? The state doesn’t CARE: The stories are unbearable: the people screaming at the windows, the parents throwing their children from several floors […]

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Democracy and Technology

As well as the usual UK post-election party political wailing or gloating and general spinning, deeper things are going on. Here’s my theory. Namely that technology is making democratic government itself harder and harder. Eventually impossible? Think about it. Information technology in its current galloping form erodes categories, everywhere and […]

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GE2017: Message and Tone

Well. What a surprise. Remember my analysis of the Brexit referendum campaign? Thus: As loyal readers here know, it’s not what you say – it’s what they hear. The Remain campaign have aimed (with broad success) to corner the market in common sense steady-as-she-goes decency. Yet they somehow also exude […]

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Slaves and Whips

As this country totters towards its latest general elections amid successive Islamist terrorist murders, let’s look at the towering ‘speech’ (in fact the systematic private demolition of another erstwhile ‘friend, Peter Keating) by Ellsworth Toohey in The Fountainhead. Most of it is here. Thus: If you learn how to rule one […]

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President Trump Saudi Speech

Here is my piece for Vital Speeches analysing President Trump’s major foreign policy speech in Saudi Arabia, comparing it to the rambling didactic speech by President Obama in Cairo in 2009. Key opening point: This speech is 3402 words long. The Obama speech in 2009 had a sprawling 6050 words […]

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Sharing Intelligence

Eeek. Disaster. Scandal. President Trump personally shared highly classified intelligence information with the RUSSIANS! Thus: In the meeting last week, Mr. Trump told Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, details about the Islamic State plot, including the city in Syria where the […]

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SIS4 – Iraq Inquiry

I found myself reading again the testimony of MI6 officer SIS4 to the Iraq Inquiry. The full text is here. Lots of his testimony is blacked out for operational security reasons. But there’s plenty left. It’s interesting as a rare example of someone with both huge experience and a dark […]

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Negotiating with North Korea

I’ve written here previously about the issues of negotiating with North Korea. See eg this. Or this. Things have moved on. President Trump appears to be keen not be seen as ‘diplomatic’ as President Obama. Can containable military action be taken against North Korea to stop it developing nuclear weapons? […]

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Serbia Kangaroo Party

It seems that I have never here satisfactorily explained why exactly (and how) I produced a wallaby at a reception in Belgrade when I was Ambassador there. Basically, Foster’s Lager looks mighty Australian, but it is also in its European form a fine UK export. So when they wanted to […]

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